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Three Legal Traditions: Rabbis, Romans and Canonists

  • Barry Gordon

Abstract

The role of the social visions of major religious thinkers and philosophers in shaping the course of economic thought generally excites more interest than the seemingly more mundane contributions of legists. Yet it is an inescapable fact that European economic analysis owes a great deal to legal enquiry of earlier ages. The contribution of the Roman jurists in this respect is often acknowledged. Less frequently, the evolution of the legal system of the Christian church of the Latin rite is deemed relevant. Because of sketchy historical evidence and communication problems amongst researchers, the Jewish tradition based on the Mishnah tends to be neglected almost completely. This chapter offers some preliminary insights concerning the economic aspects of these bodies of legal thought and, while recognising that much detailed work remains to be done, indicates some of the areas of impact on the predisposition of analytical economics as it began to emerge in scholastic debate.

Keywords

Economic Analysis Interest Payment Thirteenth Century Economic Thought Legal Tradition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 18.
    Edgar Salin, ‘Just Price’, Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences ed. E. R A. Seligman and A. Johnson, Vol. VIII ( N.Y., Macmillan, 1932 ) p. 505.Google Scholar
  2. 19.
    J. F. McGovern, ‘The Rise of New Economic Attitudes in Canon and Civil Law, A.D. 1200–1550’, The Jurist, Vol. 32, No. 1 (Winter 1972 ) p. 50.Google Scholar
  3. 31.
    R. W. Leage, Roman Private Law (London: Macmillan, 1909) p. 129. Justinian added that if A makes a new product partly by means of B’s and partly by means of his own materials, it belongs to A.Google Scholar
  4. 56.
    From Robert Latouche, The Birth of Western Economy, Economic Aspects of the Dark Ages ( London, Methuen, 1961 ) p. 156.Google Scholar
  5. 57.
    Francis de Zulueta (ed.), The Liber Pauperum of Vacarius (Publications of the Selden Society, Vol. XLIV, London, 1927) p. 150; see also p. 165.Google Scholar
  6. 61.
    On this trend see J. Gilchrist, The Church and Economic Activity in the Middle Ages (London, Macmillan, 1969) pp. 7–10. Italian towns, first Venice and then Pisa, Genoa, and Florence were at the leading edge of the new economic wave. Flanders was also to become a significant area, and later, towns in England, France, and Germany were to be linked in an expanding network of capitalist commerce.Google Scholar
  7. 62.
    John F. McGovern, ‘The Rise of New Economic Attitudes in Canon and Civil Law, A.D. 1200–1550’, The Jurist, Vol. 32 (Winter 1972 ) pp. 42–3.Google Scholar
  8. 63.
    M. Amen, ‘Canonical Equity Before the Code’, The Jurist VoL 33Google Scholar
  9. 67.
    Consult Richard B. Schlatter, Private Property, the History of an Idea ( London, Allen and Unwin, 1951 ) p. 44.Google Scholar
  10. 73.
    Consult Raymond de Roover, The Rise and Decline of the Medici Bank,1437–1494, ( Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1963 ) pp. 101–2.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Barry Gordon 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Gordon
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NewcastleAustralia

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